Teaching the Linear Swing & Closing Off The Front Shoulder

by J.R. Blevins
(South Carolina)

I'm a sophmore at USC Sumter, a JUCO that plays in Region X. Last year we started learning the linear hitting method and our power numbers went way up.

I like your system with the hybrid approach. This just makes sense to me because power comes from the hips and core which are rotational, while the swing path is linear. Also, we put a big influence demanding the ball up in the zone, because its already fence high.

The one thing I've noticed by playing and teaching the swing is keeping the front side closed. Our coach stresses keeping the front side closed, which is right, but we don't focus on getting the hips through the zone. Our guys will be rotating their hips and their front side comes open, but this is after contact, and he wants us to stay completely closed off. To me, this is taking power out of our swing by not rotating the hips through the zone. I know he's trying to keep us from rolling over pitches, but I think were losing power that way.

I'm curious to see what you think about that?

Swing Smarter Response:
To address the closed front side issue, I feel as long as you twist and load up into the back hip, initiate the swing with hips to the contact point, then the shoulders and arms will unwind and follow...like what you were saying about the front side opening after contact has been made. It is difficult to hit against a closed front side.

Where kids get into trouble with the front side is when the front shoulder unwinds ahead of the hips, then we lose all our power.

Quick note on stopping the hands from rolling over too soon: You can stop rolling over pitches by taking the top hand (palm up) through the contact point about a foot's length. Get through the ball a little better.

Awesome question J.R., the Swing Smarter community truly appreciates it :)

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